Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Harmsworth, Desmond
Desmond Harmsworth Family Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
circa 1870-1988
9 boxes and 4.3 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-9


Consists of selected papers of Desmond Harmsworth (1903-1990) and other members of the Harmsworth Family, including manuscripts, correspondence, and legal and business documents between Desmond Harmsworth Limited and The Nonesuch Press.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of selected papers (1917-1988) of Desmond Harmsworth and other members of the Harmsworth family, Desmond and Dorothy Harmsworth correspondence (1938-1987) with Stuart and Moune Gilbert, Sylvia Beach, and others, and legal material (1928-1937) regarding Harmsworth's publishing business and the Nonesuch Press and Francis Meynell.

Collection Creator Biography:

Harmsworth, Desmond

Desmond Harmsworth (1903-1990), born Cecil Desmond Bernard Harmsworth, was a publisher, poet and artist, and the son of politician Cecil Harmsworth and Emilie Alberta Maffett, and the nephew of the press barons Lord Northcliffe, Alfred Harmsworth, and Lord Rothermere, Harold Harmsworth. Desmond Harmsworth succeeded to the title of 2nd Baron Harmsworth, of Egham, Surrey, upon the death of his father in 1948. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Harmsworth married Dorothy Alexander Heinlein in 1926. Their only child, Margaret, was born in 1928, and is a painter and sculptor. Harmsworth started in the family newspaper business, attended art school at the famed Académie Julian in Paris, and published literary editions under the self-named private press of Desmond Harmsworth Limited. He may be best known for the 1932 limited edition of James Joyce's Pomes Penyeach, illustrated by Joyce's daughter Lucia, which Harmsworth co-published with the Obelisk Press of Paris following Sylvia Beach's first edition of Joyce's poems in 1927. Desmond and Dorothy Harmsworth knew Sylvia Beach (1887-1962) who, in turn, knew Stuart Gilbert (1883-1969), the British author, editor and translator who moved to Paris in 1925 following his retirement as a judge on the Court of Assizes in Burma. Beach became acquainted with Stuart Gilbert through his interest in a French translation of Joyce's Ulysses, and she introduced him to Joyce. Both Gilbert and his French-born wife, Moune (born Marie Agnès Mathilde Douin), also shared a lifelong friendship with Desmond and Dorothy Harmsworth, which is reflected in the correspondence among the four of them in this collection.

Collection History


Purchased from Bloomsbury Sale in December 2008 (AM2009-71).


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sylvia Yu in May 2009. Finding aid written by Sylvia Yu in May 2009.

Collection title updated by Faith Charlton in 2021.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Desmond Harmsworth Family Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-9